I’m a man, so for my first 30 years, intuition hardly ever featured in my life. I was aware that the fairer sex (perhaps I should play safe and say the other gender) employed their intuition more than I but, confusing intuition with emotion, I figured intuition was somehow less reliable than my male-biased rational thinking.
Then I heard a talk about intuition … by another man no less. He was extolling the virtues of intuition and was convincing enough to encourage me to give it a try.
I started consulting my intuition whenever my rational mind was struggling to come to a quick conclusion. Whenever I couldn’t make an immediate decision, despite having all the information needed, such as if there were pros and cons either way that seemed balanced, I’d immediately make an intuitive decision.
Which just means doing whatever feels right. And if I didn’t have a ‘gut feeling’, I’d just do the first thing that came into my mind. My initial experiment was so successful, I added a rule that if I couldn’t make a rational decision within 10 seconds of having all the information needed, I’d immediately make an intuitive one.
That was over 25 years ago. To this day I cannot think of a single intuitive decision I’ve made …. and I’ve made many thousands …. that in hindsight seemed like a bad decision. In that time I must have saved thousands of hours of cogitating and procrastinating.
I make intuitive decisions every day, all the time. Everything from choosing a brand of butter to buying a car. Anything from choosing which way to turn when I’m lost to choosing a recruit to work for my company. And, as far as I can recall, my intuition has never let me down by coming up with a poor decision.
Some might say that if a rational decision is balanced, an intuitive decision is no different from tossing a coin, just not quite as time consuming as we don’t need to find a coin. But I’m certain it isn’t like that. I’m convinced the intuitive mind is powerful. That it’s cleverer and faster than our rational mind. That it has an amazing sense of the right thing to do.
Others might think that intuitive decisions are the same as emotionally driven decisions. Not at all. Our intuition takes into account what’s sensible and what seems right, even if our emotions are pushing us the other way.
After I came to trust my intuition to make good decisions, I began to trust it in other ways. I came to trust that it would get me out of a fix whenever I needed it. For example I stopped worrying that I may not be able to think of something to say in a situation that previously might have been stressful. Whether in meetings at work, interviews on TV, giving presentations or just speaking to others, I found that if I trusted my intuition, it would always deliver.
When I began to use it, I was a member of a well-known speaking club that builds confidence and abilities when speaking to groups. One of the games this club uses is impromptu speaking. The game leader gives a topic without warning to club members who then have to give a two minute speech on the topic with no time to prepare.
I, like most others, found this exercise challenging and stressful. I, like others, would walk slowly to the front of the room, trying to give myself time to form a response in my mind.
The day I started to trust my intuition, that changed. I’d walk to the front of the room, not even bothering to think about the topic. I’d turn and face the audience knowing that my intuitive mind would come up with something to say. It always did.
If you learn to trust your intuition, it becomes a powerful tool. Some might think that such trust just gives us confidence and relaxes us, allowing the rational mind to work more effectively. There may be an element of this, and to the extent this is the case, it’s no bad thing. But there’s much more to it than that. Creative ideas at the spur-of-the-moment must come from somewhere. And once you start experiencing it, you’ll know it isn’t your rational mind.
Massive time saving and confidence are just two of the benefits that arise from learning to trust our intuition. If you’re not already doing so, I suggest you start making intuitive decisions, so you can begin to build that trust.